Interfaith presentation takes on Bible's Book of Job

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Catholic archbishop, one Jewish rabbi, a single Biblical account of loss, hardship, tested convictions.

That's the focus of "In the Beginning: The Book of Job," an interfaith presentation scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts in West Bloomfield Township.

Detroit Catholic Archbishop Allen Vigneron and Rabbi Joseph Krakoff are examining "one of the more challenging theological narratives of the Bible, where the question of good and evil is presented in a compelling and perhaps troubling fashion," the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit said.

The group's Adult Jewish Learning Department is presenting the program with the Archdiocese of Detroit. Their aim is to help clear up misconceptions while showcasing similarities between the two faiths, said Judy Loebl, the federation's director of adult Jewish learning, who is coordinating the program. "It really is a chance to understand a different point of view. You get to know somebody better, I think, by getting rid of the mystique. It makes living next door to each other much easier."

Sunday's dialogue is a sequel of sorts to one Vigneron and Krakoff headed in 2013. For that event, which emerged from the religious leaders' friendship, hundreds filled the Maple Theater to listen to them interpret the Bible's book of Genesis, Loebl said.

Demand for a follow-up prompted coordinators to stage another, this time in a larger venue, she said.

"A lot of people said they wished they heard about it," Loebl said, adding she expects more than 400 attendees. "According to the archbishop, he doesn't know of any other place where an archbishop had a dialogue like this with a rabbi. It's pretty unique."

Loebl plans to facilitate the discussion, which precedes a brief Q&A session with the audience.

"I'm hoping it can be a little edgier to ask some more pointed questions, specifically about the Book of Job and different perspectives of reading it," she said. "It's an opportunity for people to get a feel for similarities and differences."

"In the Beginning: The Book of Job"

4 p.m. Sunday at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts, 6600 W. Maple, West Bloomfield Township. Cost is $15. To register, visit: or call (248) 205-2557. Tickets are available online until noon Sunday.